Austria Suspends Financial Aid to Palestinians, Germany Contemplates Similar Move
The Austrian government has decided to suspend its financial assistance to Palestinian territories, amounting to approximately 19 million euros, following an attack carried out by the terrorist organization Hamas against Israel. This announcement was made by the Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alexander Schallenberg, on Monday, as reported by Reuters.
"The scale of terror is so horrifying that we cannot return to business as usual. Therefore, we are temporarily suspending all payments within the framework of Austrian development cooperation," stated Alexander Schallenberg.
In Germany, there is also a discussion about the possibility of discontinuing aid to Palestinians in the wake of the Hamas attack on Israel. Svenja Schulze, the Minister for Development, emphasized that the government has always exercised strict control to ensure that funds were directed only towards peaceful purposes.
Schulze also mentioned that Germany will evaluate all interactions with Palestinian territories. She explained that the funds allocated for Palestinian aid have been largely expended, and at present, no financial transfers are being made. The question of further support will be considered in light of recent events.
"These attacks on Israel are a heinous crime. Therefore, we will make every effort to scrutinize all aspects of our interaction with Palestinian territories," noted Svenja Schulze.
According to the German Ministry for Development, Germany is one of the largest donors to Palestinian territories and plans to allocate 125 million euros for the years 2023-2024, excluding funding for non-governmental organizations and the United Nations. The ministry clarified that this funding is not directly for Palestine but for specific humanitarian projects, such as providing water supply or medical assistance, which often align with Israel's interests as well.
Recalling that on Saturday morning, local time, the terrorist organization Hamas carried out a large-scale attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip, which marked the most serious escalation in the Arab-Israeli conflict in the past 50 years. According to official data, more than 500 people have lost their lives as a result of Hamas's actions. Hundreds of individuals, including both military personnel and civilians, including children, have also been taken captive by the terrorists.
In response to this attack, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced a counter-terrorism operation called "Iron Swords" and initiated the shelling of the Gaza Strip.
The European Union and several other countries, including Ukraine, have expressed their support for Israel in the face of this unprecedented terrorist attack by Hamas.